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Skillet Exclusive Interview
[ creation east | june 27, 2003 ]

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The Band BackstagecMW: Our motto is "A different approach to music." How does Skillet fit into this?
Korey Cooper: I think our approach to music is that it is a vehicle to say and do what we feel called to do. So it is not an end in itself which I think it is for a lot of artists. Like I do like music a lot, but I don't. Like if God asked me to stop music, it would be hard but it would not be like a huge issue for me. So I think for us, we have a message we feel from God to share, and that is what our music is for, it is just a vehicle for that.

cMW: What is your heart for youth in the world today?
John Cooper: In our nation, I would like to see a genuine Gospel come to the youth of our nation. Not religiousness, or not a tradition of going to church since they were kids, or whatever it is that they have been doing since they were young. But the genuine life-changing Gospel that will cost your whole life to come to Christ. It will cost everything you have ever had. There is nothing else to live for anymore because your life is ruined for the Gospel. To see that kind of genuineness come, because I think with that will come a passion for Christ among people because they would understand what life is really about. And I think that we are so religious and traditional in our nation. I have a feeling we might be the last country on the earth to see revival happen because we have grown up with it and it is not a big deal that God saved us any more. I mean it is, but we just don't know it. I think the genuineness of the Gospel has kind of been lost.

Korey Cooper's Heartfelt SingingChurch is big business. I am not being cynical about it, but it is true, it is big business. You go to college and you go visit a church that you have never been before and they vote on you if you are good enough. It is not what the Bible teaches, but we do it. I think we have lost a lot of the genuineness.

cMW: Do you have any accountability on the road?
John: Mainly just with each other. I mean we do with our church that we love. We moved from Tennessee to Wisconsin to be part of our church. Actually Korey's dad is the Pastor. So yes we do have a lot of relationship there, and there is accountability there, but that is not the day to day accountability. That is done among ourselves. We live together every minute every day. We sleep on the bus together, and it is not like we don't ever see each other for more than 30 minutes or something. It is something that is distinctive of Skillet. We have such a great relationship with our church. We do a lot with our church in terms of when we are home. Korey and I lead a youth group at church and we are involved with worship at our church, and a Home Group, stuff like that. We are pretty blessed to have a church family.

cMW: Can you tell us more about your upcoming album? How many cuts, is there a major theme, do you have a title?
Lori Peter's Beating the SkinsJohn: The album is going to be called Collide which we pretty much just decided for sure. Unless I think differently in a few weeks. It is going to come out in November. I think there is going to be 10 tracks. We started with 12, but to tell you the truth, I just did not like the last two. They just were not coming together, they did not really fit the theme. It really felt to me like we had 10 really good songs and 2 really not so good songs.

The theme behind Collide, just the idea that the Christian life collides with the fact that we are living in the world and we are humans. Kind of the expression about two worlds colliding. There are a few songs about issues that people are going through like not feeling good, feeling unwanted or useless. There is one song on the album which is about divorce which is the first social issue that we have ever tackled on a record before. And there is a love song on the record which is our first time to ever have a love song on one of our albums. I am really excited about this song it is called "Little More." And it is not just about loving a person, it is about the fact that love conquers all. When things seem really hard, the idea that love can take a little more. I think that goes with the message of Collide, that we are Christians and we do need to learn how to balance the fact that we are humans and we do make mistakes with the fact that we have been redeemed and God has a new life for us that we need to learn how to live.

John Cooper Rocking OutcMW: Will we hear any changes musically on the new album?
John: Yes. We worked with a producer named Paul Ebersole, and he has produced some pretty big mainstream albums like Three Doors Down and Sister Hazel. I produced Alien Youth myself, so there was not the real sharpening that happened between me and somebody else on new music. So this has been a real challenge for us. He has listened to our songs saying, "No that's not good." We went into the record deciding this was going to be a big change, it is going to be mostly a hard rock album, not a lot of keyboards, not industrial. (Korey is playing more guitar now) And where it is really taking us to is more of a rock album. But the album has a lot of piano, a lot of strings, and a lot of acoustic guitar. Stuff that we had not really planned on, but it just kind of went there and we liked it so we said, "Let's do it."

We have been living with it for quite a while so I don't think of it as being really different. But when I play it for one of my friends, they are like, "Whoa! This is totally different." I think our fans will like it because it is aggressive. It is a passionate sounding album, so hopefully our fans will not be freaked out.

cMW: Is there anything that you have learned spiritually that is going to come out on the new album?
Ben Kasica Really RocksJohn: In terms of a song that came out of an experience that God was showing me? Not necessarily like that. The style of the lyrics and what the songs are about are really different than our last couple of records. Alien Youth and Invincible were both very much records toward the church, about revival, the church rising up, the kingdom of God and thirsting for God. And this album is not really like that. It is more about issues that young people are going through, Christian and non-Christian alike. It has been different for us. It has been a different writing process, I guess. This album has more personal issues that people can relate to.

cMW: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the cMusicWeb readers to encourage them to go out and buy the album?
John: This record sounds like putting our first record and Alien Youth together.
Ben Kasica: If you don't like Rock music, don't buy it.
John: This album rocks harder than any of our other records have rocked. It is more organic in terms of keyboard sounds. Guitars are pretty much straight up rock too. The biggest noticeable change for us is that we had somebody work with us on our songs and to really challenge us, to push us to do better songs, better guitar grooves, better sounds. Because for the last couple of records, we have been doing it ourselves. And now we had somebody to come in and to be more subjective. It challenged me as a songwriter to not settle for just being good, and to keep writing. I had a load of songs written that we did not use. I had probably 8 songs that we did not even start recording. I kept writing and things just kept getting better and better. I think it is going to be a bit noticeable on the album that the songs are a bit more mature because of somebody else's influence coming in and helping wrap the record up. I think it is going to stand out from the other records a little bit more.
- Kim Flanders
October 2003
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